We set out to plan a short trip. There is a beautiful state park 40 miles north of our home that B and I have been wanting to explore for a while now. We set that as our destination. This meant that the trip would be an out and back of 80 total miles. We also decided to stay for 2 nights. This would give us an entire day to explore the park as well as giving B a full day to rest in case she needed it.
The morning of our departure dawned slightly overcast, with a stiff 15 to 20 m.p.h. wind blowing directly north to south. We were heading directly south to north. My concerns for B were mounting. Here she was, about to take on a ride almost 3 times her longest ever and she was doing it on a loaded touring bike, into a stiff headwind, on a rather hilly route. Adding to the mix, was the air. There was a huge wildfire a few hundred miles to the north, so the air was hazy and thick with the smell of smoke. I knew almost instantly that this was going to be a long day.
|Just before we hit the road.|
|The 20 mile rest stop.|
After some lunch and a quick fix of my tire, we were back on the road. 15 miles to go, but now our bellies were full and so was my rear tire.
|With just a few miles left, we stopped for a photo-op at a big blue chair.|
Shortly after this photo, we made it to the entrance of park. We were ALMOST at the campsite. Just 2 short miles to go and we would be done riding for today.
When mapping out our route, I discovered that there is a cat 5 climb (in layman's terms, "steep hill") actually "in" the park. That was, as we soon found out, quite the challenge. I wish now, I had taken a picture of it, but at the time, I was focused on just getting to the top. B took one look at it and said; "There is no way I can ride up that thing. Especially after riding 40 miles." She dismounted and began pushing her bike up the hill. I was going to ride to the top, park my bike and walk down to meet B and push her bike for her. Unfortunately, when I made it to the top, there was a group of teens that were eyeballing my bike pretty hard. I wasn't comfortable leaving it, so I rode back down and met B and rode along side as she walked her bike up the hill.
Once we got to the top, B said her knee was hurting pretty bad (among other things too). The hill had proved to be a bit too much. She remounted her bike and we limped into the campsite. I was so proud of her for making it, yet felt bad cause I knew she was hurting.
We picked a campsite, unloaded our bikes and quickly set up camp. Once that was done, we decided to make some much needed supper.
|Our happy little home for the next 48 hours.|
|I just rode my bicycle 40 miles. I"M HUNGRY!!!!!|
|MMM. That's more like it!|
|Battery Operated Christmas lights for "in-tent" lighting.|
|One thing we learned on this trip was to make sure the fly goes ALL the way to the ground. A cold draft came in thru that gap and blew right on our heads chilling us a bit. Fixed it the next morning and all was good.|
|The morning of our exploration day. Decided to take a hike and explore the park.|
During our exploration, we came upon the edge of the world and I almost fell off of it. Good thing B is quick with the camera.
|HANG ON DUDE!!!!!|
|So happy I didn't go off the edge that I celebrated by busting out my mad crumpin skills!|
|Beautiful area for hiking.|
|Biggest weeping willow tree I have EVER seen. That little black spot on the ground in front of it is B.|
Our favorite part of the day was when we walked thru the Indian Effigy Mounds. These are old indian burial mounds that were made approximately 1500 years ago. I really wanted to take a few photos of this beautiful, peaceful area, but seeing as it is sacred ground, something just didn't seem right about doing that, so we chose not to. We walked peacefully thru the area, stopping to silently pay our respects to those that came before us. It really made us think about our lives and how things have changed so drastically, since the times of those whom are buried here. We thought about how important is it to just live simply, like they did. They totally appreciated their surroundings and what mother earth provided for them. More importantly, they were thankful for what they had. It made us realize that they had the right idea.
|Knew it was going to get cold this night so I started a fire.|
|This little stove rocks. I love the tea kettle too. Worked great for boiling water for our meals and our tea.|
CALL THE DESSERT POLICE!!!! We have dessert abuse! B went to pour the water into our dessert and the envelope didn't stay upright, dumping dark chocolate cheesecake powder all over her. Good thing most of the the boiling water hit the ground and not B. Thankful for that! Still though, I had a moment of silence for the loss of the dessert.
Went to bed on the last night, knowing it was going to get COLD! I froze my buttocks off most of the night. 54 degrees I was prepared for. 34 degrees, I was not. Thought I was ready but I admit, I was WRONG!
On the 3rd morning, I got ready for, what I called, a 40/40 ride. That's 40 miles in 40 degrees. I was on a mission to rescue the stranded damsel. Rode home and got the car, then came back to get B and all the gear. I rode hard and within 5 miles, was stripping off layers. But those first few miles were C-O-L-D!!!
All in all, we had a great trip. Lots more went right, than wrong and THAT is always a good thing. We learned some things too. We figured out what worked and what we need to change. For example, we definitely need better sleeping bags. Ours just were not warm enough. We learned that the freeze dried lasagna was delish! Some of the asian meals, not so much. We learned to make sure the tent fly goes all the way to the ground at the head end of the tent. We learned that I am never riding my bike into the parking lot of that coffee shop again. We learned that we liked the tent we had, but for a longer trip, want one just a little bigger. Also, a tent with an enclosed vestibule would be nice too. Time to do some research on tents and sleeping bags.
So that was our first test ride tour. 3 days/2 nights, 80 miles. Tons of fun. What was the best part you ask? For me, it was the part when B said; "Next time we do this...." It didn't matter what she said after that. All I cared about was the fact that she said "Next Time."
In discussing this blog, we made the decision to end all our blog posts with each of our High Points/Low Points of the particular subject. We thought it would be a cool thing to do as it will force us to look for a positive, even if we've had an really tough day. We will start with this post. Here they are:
High Points: Riding 40 miles in one day. Also, proving P wrong. I knew he had concerns
about my ability to do this. It was great to show him I could do it.
Low Points: Hills, wind and not being able to ride home.
High Points: Had a great time making a memory with B and watching her complete her longest
ride to date.
Low Points: Was not prepared for the cold nights.